Ford government to provide Ontarians with free treatment for depression and anxiety

A program called Mindability was announced by the health minister Tuesday. The program will provide free therapy for Ontarians with anxiety and depression

Free therapy will soon be available for Ontarians with anxiety and depression according to the Huffington Post. The program is called Mindability, and was announced by the health minister on Tuesday.

“Mindability will be funded just like OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan), with no out-of-pocket cost to patients,” confirmed Minister Christine Elliott.

“Through this groundbreaking program, an individual will receive an assessment from a trained mental health clinician and be offered a therapy program that best addresses their level of need.”

She added that cognitive behavioural therapy would be offered for those suffering from depression or anxiety. “If it’s a more acute episode, if it’s something else that’s happening, they will be treated elsewhere.”

Elliott added that people can sign up for the program over the phone, online or through text message. Patients can receive individual or group therapy as well as over the phone therapy.

Right now, the services have to be provided by a doctor, a psychiatrist or at a hospital to be covered by OHIP.  “Not everyone needs to see a psychiatrist,” said Elliott on Tuesday. She added that the waiting lists are “huge.”

“Ontario is finally, finally turning a corner,” she said. The program will begin in the spring of this year and begin to expand shortly afterwards. Elliott added that Mindability will make it easier for those seeking health care to find it.

“No [two] patients are the same. We all know that,” said Elliott. “The long-haul truck driver feeling isolated from friends and family, the middle-aged professional struggling with work performance, the Grade 11 student whose studies are now slipping: each of these individuals has unique needs. But by matching them with the most appropriate level of support, Mindability will make a real difference in their lives.”

This year, Mindability is using $20 million in government money to attempt to treat 80,000 people annually after three to four years of being implemented. The program is part of a mental health strategy being put together by the Progressive Conservative government called Roadmap to Wellness.

In a statement released by mental health service providers on Tuesday, they told Elliott that an increase funding, to the tune of $380 million, is needed from the government annually. This will reduce wait times for things like supportive housing and intensive therapy that may not be offered by the program.

In a statement MPP Bhutila Karpoche said, “Every bit of help is needed, but anything less in mental health funding than the $330 million Doug Ford and Christine Elliott took away is still a cut.”

“And just undoing cuts to mental health funding is nowhere what’s needed.”